The City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings organization announced Friday, March 17, that Sacramento State’s Spring Commencement on May 19-20 will be designated as the downtown arena’s first City civic event, allowing the University to have a one-time savings of $50,000 in rental fees. Commencement is being held at Golden 1 Center for the first time since the facility opened its doors last fall.

“The exceptional generosity of both the Kings and the City will result in significant savings for Sacramento State while still allowing us to give our students the best graduation experience possible,” said Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen. “I am deeply grateful to Golden 1 Center for its flexibility and willingness to continue working with us to lower the costs of our Commencement ceremonies, and the City for stepping up to work with the Kings to see what was possible.”

Previously it was reported that Sacramento State was facing a budget shortfall for its 2017 Spring Commencement ceremonies. With a record number of graduates and new venue expenses, the cost of Commencement for Sac State has risen.

By the City allowing Commencement to be a civic event, the University in effect will save a $50,000 rental fee. Funding sources for the remaining balance still are being determined by the University. As part of its agreement with the Kings, the City of Sacramento – which owns Golden 1 Center – can use the arena as many as nine times a year for civic events with no rental fee. The City also can assign its allotted civic events to nonprofit, civic or other community organizations.

“I’m pleased we could work this out,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. “Nothing more civic than celebrating the next generation of leaders graduating. I hope our graduates continue to stay engaged and in Sacramento.”

“The City’s investment in the Golden 1 Center means that we have the ability to host events of citywide importance for a lower cost. Our city benefits greatly from the brainpower of Sacramento State graduates, so I think this is a great way to give back to the University!” said Councilmember Steve Hansen, whose district includes Golden 1 Center.

Spring Commencement will be Sac State’s first time hosting its graduation at the new downtown arena.

“Supporting the region is incredibly important for the Kings and Golden 1 Center,” said Kings President Chris Granger. “We’re honored to be a part of this memorable moment for thousands of graduates and their guests from Sacramento and beyond. With the City, we’ll continue to find ways to impact our community.”

More than 5,300 students are eligible to participate in the ceremonies – the greatest number of eligible graduates that Sacramento State has had for its Spring Commencement exercises.

“On behalf of the student body at Sacramento State, we are very grateful. For many of them, they are the first in their families to graduate from college, and this will make it an even more meaningful experience,” said Patrick Dorsey, president of Associated Students Inc. (ASI) at Sac State. “Being designated as a civic event shows how strong Sac State’s partnerships are with the community, and how our graduates are contributing to the rise of the region.”

On March 7, Sac State announced that Golden 1 Center was selected as the venue for the 2017 Spring Commencement. The University also worked with the Kings organization to offer up to nine complimentary tickets for guests of the graduates over the two days of ceremonies. For more information regarding tickets, the schedule of the six ceremonies, and general inquiries, visit Sacramento State’s Commencement website. – Elisa Smith

In the media: "City steps in to cut cost of Sacramento State graduation at Golden 1 Center," Sacramento Bee